Last week 34 of us had penetrated the mists of Somerset to Butlins Holiday Camp. We were three generations, children, parents and grandparents. Most of us were in adjacent bungalows not far from where the action was. We were there for Spring Harvest, the inter-church multi-venue conference.
The children, as you’ll have heard on Sunday, loved “The Big Start”, a multi-media worship event after breakfast. Speaking personally the highlights for me were seminars on hard questions, like “How can I believe in a God who allows suffering? Sends people to Hell? Is so old-fashioned (racist, sexist, homophobic)?” by Ruth Jackson, and the three Bible explanations of James in the morning by Simon Ponsonby. The moment I suspect most people will remember was the interview with a North Korean, widow of a pastor, talking about her experiences in prison camp – where she started a secret church with two other women. She was a small radiant figure who brought to life really what it means to be persecuted. At the end we all joined in singing “Amazing grace” in a whisper (as that was the only way to worship in prison) until the last verse. I think a lot of us choked up at that point. There was a long standing ovation at the end. She is travelling round with the charity, Open Doors.
One thing I was sorry to miss was the Scratch Gospel Choir coached by gospel singer, Geraldine Latty. They sang in the after-hours slot (past my bedtime!). A number of our party starred in the choir.
What’s special about Spring Harvest is not only the camp facilities (everything from climbing walls to candy floss) but also the sharing of life together within the bungalows and as a group. It is such fun! And tradition is that we all have fish and chips on the last evening, and there is now a rather good fish and chips shop on site. Sarah Jenkinson, our group organiser, even organised that. Thanks so much, Sarah!
Perhaps you could join us next year. I’m sure there’ll be a party going. I’m fairly sure you will be blessed.